Safety is our #1 Priority!
When you are boating or using personal watercraft itís important to use common sense while you are on the water.
You are responsible for knowing rules and regulations when operating a boat or personal watercraft! Please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife webpage at: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Boating/BoatingRegulations.pdf to learn about Colorado boating rules.
Visit this link for 10 short videos on jet ski safety:
Personal Water Craft Safety
Did you know that a Personal Water Craft (PWC) was even considered a boat? Many people donít, and think of them more as toys that require no training or knowledge of how they work. The terms used for a boat are the same for a PWC.
Most PWC models generally come with storage space for gear, and have a very traditional "dashboard" with gauges. Your PWC has information listed on it that will tell you the specifics of your boat, including tips on safe operation, and how many people you can safely carry.
WHAT THEY ARE
HOW THEY WORK
PWCs are operated by inboard gasoline engines that drive a jet water pump. Water is taken in through a water pick-up on the bottom of the PWC, drawn into an internal propeller (an impeller) that creates a jet of high pressure water which exits through a nozzle on the back of the PWC.
There is also a moveable "gate" that can be dropped over the nozzle to provide reverse thrust on some models. Be careful, this is not designed to be used to stop a PWC operating at a high speed!
PWCs are designed to be extremely maneuverable. They are built for quick, sharp turns, low-radius circling, and rapid acceleration. However, they are only maneuverable with the throttle engaged Ė TO MAINTAIN STEERAGE, YOU MUST APPLY THROTTLE! For instance, the best way to avoid hitting an object is NOT to slow down, rather, you should apply throttle and steer away to avoid impact.
Most models have an automatic cut-off lanyard (which must be attached to the operatorís wrist or life jacket at all times) or self-circling feature to prevent a PWC from going far from a driver who has fallen off.
If you fall off, donít abandon your vessel if it overturns. Simply turn it over in the direction indicated on the rear of the vessel. Righting your craft improperly may make it more difficult than necessary to re-board, and you could cause internal damage to your PWC. To re-board your craft once it is right side up, approach the rear of the PWC, pull yourself up into a kneeling position, take your seat, start it up and continue on your trip. This sounds easier than it is Ė it is often quite difficult to re-board a PWC, especially in rough water or when fatigued. A good idea is to practice in calm shallow water before venturing out.
Practice boarding your PWC in a calm, shallow area with your friends or family. If you have difficulty getting back on a PWC from the water, you should most likely avoid using your PWC in areas where there is a strong current or high waves. Finally, don't forget to re-attach your cut-off lanyard!
When operating a PWC, keep clear of shallow water (less than three feet deep). Since a PWC sucks water in to power its water jet, it is best not to operate in shallow waters. This will help keep dirt, rocks and debris from fouling the impeller, which could lead to power loss and damage to your PWC.
As Personal Water Craft are considered to be type "A" motor craft, they must adhere to certain Coast Guard requirements as follows:
∑ Your PWC must be equipped with a marine-rated fire extinguisher and emergency signaling devices
∑ All PWCs must be registered according to state regulations, and have a registration number displayed. Follow state guidelines for specific regulations.
∑ You must adhere to the manufacturer's listed capacity limits for people and equipment. Each PWC has an attached capacity plate that states the weight limit you may carry.
∑ Personal Floatation Devices must be worn by riders. Choose a properly fitting, Coast Guard approved PFD and WEAR IT!
You may be required to take a boating education course prior to operating your PWC. Check your local laws.
Other gear you should consider:
∑ Eye Protection - water spray can greatly affect your vision. Goggles or wrap around glasses offer the best protection.
∑ Foot Protection - Shoes or sandals will protect your feet and give you added traction.
∑ Gloves - Gloves will allow you to keep a tight grip on wet controls.
∑ Wet Suits - In colder water a wet suit will provide extra comfort by keeping you warm.
Be aware of what is around you. The leading cause of PWC accidents is striking an object (usually another PWC). If you are operating your PWC in a congested area, slow down and look at what the boats around you are doing. To avoid being struck yourself, always look for other boats before making sharp or sudden turns.
Because PWCs are so small and maneuverable it is best to always give the other boats the right of way. Larger boats may not see you, and may not be able to get out of your way in time to avoid contact. Keeping a proper lookout can save your life!
As with any boat, operate at a safe speed. It is very easy to get thrown from a PWC, especially if you hit wakes or turn too quickly. Operating at a safe speed for the conditions will lower the risk of an accident.
Following some simple operating procedures can help eliminate the majority of complaints against PWCs:
Avoid operating at high speed near the shoreline and other boaters. Riding through boat wakes is not only dangerous, but also illegal to do so.
Obey the law! If all PWC users faithfully obeyed the law, there would be far fewer complaints, and consequently far fewer usage restrictions. PWC operators control their own destiny regarding new restrictions.
Give all fishing, anchored, or drifting vessels plenty of room.
In case of emergency, volunteer assistance.
Be considerate at the launch ramps and docks. Get on and off the ramps quickly and not delay others.
Operate at headway speed in "no wake" zones.
Travel speed should be determined by state laws, my equipment, ability, weather conditions, and especially other vessel traffic.
Do not litter the shore side.
Do not interfere with or harass others. Realize that people judge all personal watercraft by your actions.
Even though PWCs are considered to be boats, there are a few differences that you need to know.
Virtually no PWCs have running lights as all manufacturers recommend that they only be used during daylight. In fact, many states ban the use of PWCs at night.
Many states (Colorado included) require that Personal Floatation Devices be worn at all times while on a PWC. Many states also regulate the operation of personal watercraft within their borders by prohibiting them from specified lakes and boating areas, or by placing geographic or time restrictions on their use.
Some states require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating the craft, or may require completion of a boating safety course before a minor can legally operate a PWC.
States also regulate speed limits, noise limits, hours of operation, and distance from other boats or objects that you may operate your PWC.
Remember: Safety first!